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City-wide Surveillance: Is it worth the cost?

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

By next year, Greenville city leaders will have spent one million dollars on surveillance cameras across the city.
     
But with budget cuts, is this the best way to spend taxpayer dollars and do cameras really stop crime?

People in Greenville that 9 On Your Side spoke with are split on this issue. Several supported the cameras and several thought it was a waste of money.

On Monday, Greenville city council members will decide whether to invest $300,000 over the next two years in their city-wide surveillance system.

They've already spent nearly $700,000 on 182 cameras around town over the past five years. And now they want to add 62 more.
     
But researchers cannot agree on whether these cameras actually prevent crime from happening in the first place, only that they can provide strong criminal evidence after the fact.
     
So 9 On Your Side asked people if they think it's worth the investment.

"I don't think it makes a difference. I feel like if someone's going to do something wrong, they're going to do it regardless," said Chase Leak, who lives in Greenville.

"I believe they do stop crime because students walking home from the bar area are more protected when they leave downtown," said Blake Stickley, who also lives in Greenville.

Sgt. Joe Friday of the Greenville Police Dept. says the cameras are a valuable resource.

"It's a force multiplier," he says. "It's 180 extra sets of eyes and it enables us to see things that we would otherwise miss."

When asked if he believes the cameras prevent crimes before they occur, Sgt. Friday said, "I think they have the potential to stop crime. I don't know how you measure what doesn't occur."

  • Web Poll

  • Do you agree with spending taxpayer dollars on surveillance cameras to fight crime?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Yes
    66%
    200 votes
    No
    27%
    82 votes
    Unsure
    7%
    21 votes
  • Citywide Surveillance: Is it worth the cost?
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